When Suede – that most Glam-era, David Bowie-like of bands – announced Bloodsports in their native UK, it was luckless and ironic that it clashed with the Thin White Duke’s return. Some confessed Schadenfreude at Bowie’s Where Are We Now? stealing column-inches that might have been Suede’s, but Bloodsports deserves its moment in the sun. The group’s first album since 2002 sees them re-teamed with Ed Buller, the producer of their first two LPs. The fiery, drama-laden riffs of guitarists Richard Oakes and Neil Codling are mixed nice and loud, while, thematically speaking, this carefully thought-out work maps the trajectory of a relationship that begins with infatuation – Hit Me (with your majesty), and ends in suspicion – What Are You Not Telling Me? Though Brett Anderson’s lyrics are sometimes a tad highfalutin (Lemonade sipped in Belgian rooms; Colours like a raven’s shadow), Bloodsports packs admirable focus and vitality. Thanks to standouts such as Snowblind and the vertiginous-sounding torch song Sometimes I Feel I’ll Float Away, Britpop’s most glamorously decadent band are contenders.
* James McNair